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Sunday, April 20, 2014

The essence of good governance


Tuesday, 20 May 2014 | Ashwani Lohani | in Oped

The welfare of the citizenry must form the basis of all the decisions and actions of the sarkari tantra. For this, a cultural change is necessary
With a new dispensation round the corner and the hopes of the common man firmly pinned on the ensuing change, the emergence of good governance to take this nation forward, not merely in rhetoric but in reality is the need of the hour.

Foremost is the need of a good intent. Yes it is true that intent alone is not adequate, a lesson reinforced by the Kejri episode, yet sans a noble intent to provide good governance for the sake of the nation and its constituents, the nation would never really move up the garden path. Intent has to be to govern and govern well and can and should never be to make hay adequate enough to last generations while the sun shines. The intent is also to be supplemented by concrete action, not mere plans and rhetoric, even if it ruffles more than a billion feathers in the process.

Integrity in governance has indeed been conspicuous by its absence since long. Having been unfortunate victims during the last decade of a series of scams of growing magnitude we the common man of this nation are the best suited lot on this earth to really appreciate the need for probity in public life. Yet the fact that corruption which engulfs our day to day existence cannot be wiped out easily needs a deep appreciation. Since our famous tryst with destiny, the system of governance based on mistrust spurred by the greed and luxurious lifestyles of those in power has dented the entire social fabric to the extent that it has become rare to come across even one single interaction of the common man with the sarkari tantra that is devoid of the customary greasing of palms. And that should lead the powers to ponder - if all the apples are rotten, there is much more than mere apples that needs to take the blame. Yes it is true that our decision making and contractual mechanisms that are based on mistrust and mired in scores of thumb impressions provide a convenient shroud to the corrupt and need to be replaced with a system where affixing responsibility is a simple affair. The nation sick and tired of scams like the CWG, 2G, Coalgate, Adarsh and Railgate is looking forward to a dispensation that does not permit a recurrence of incidences of similar elk and brings to book the perpetrators.  

The belief that deliverance alone can lift the nation out of the morass that it finds itself engulfed in needs widespread acceptance. That the economic prosperity of any nation is directly linked to the sum total of goods and services produced or in other words the GDP is a thought that needs to be repeatedly hammered across the sarkari spectrums engulfing the nation. It is indeed shameful that even after almost seven decades as a free nation, the bare essentialities of roti, kapda and makaan still elude the common man. While it is true that the GDP is a function of the basic infrastructure put in place by the sarkar and the produce of the private enterprise, yet the fact remains that the policies of the sarkari tantra that are meant to facilitate both have been miserably failing in giving a boost to both. Government policies that directly affect the creation of wealth and infrastructure need simplification and a fresh look.

Maintaining the sanctity of the laws and rules of governance is one of the foremost duties of the government. The laws, rules and the procedures should not be allowed to discriminate between the ruler and the ruled and the rich and the poor as is almost always the case in our country. Discretionary preferential treatment to the privileged, a sign of inadequacy of services as well as cultural degradation would need to be curbed by effective measures on the lines of the developed world that provide a level playing field to all their constituents.

Police and judicial systems that ensure swift justice, not like the present where even perpetrators of heinous crimes occupy await retribution in the premises of the holy Tihar for decades together is the need of the hour. These systems while instilling the fear of an almost instantaneous retribution in the minds of the criminal should act as a beacon of support for the common man. 

Fundamentally we are talking about bringing in a cultural change, a change in the thought processes both of the ruler and the ruled and the emergence of a scenario where the good of the citizenry forms the basis of the decisions and actions of the sarkari tantra. Despite the all-pervading rot and sloth and an environment marred by scandals and lack of probity in public life, the time has come for the nation to put a major step forward and emerge out of the league of forever developing nations.

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